The F/A-18Fs of the RAAF’s 82WG based at Amberley have been conducting trial flights with Boeing AGM-84J Harpoon anti-surface warfare (ASuW) missiles in recent weeks.
The trials are part of the development of systems, procedures and training to employ the Harpoon with a full operational clearance, and are based on those used by the US Navy.
A Defence spokesperson told Australian Aviation that the Harpoon will complement the Raytheon AGM-54C-1 JSOW precision weapon in the Super Hornet’s ASuW arsenal. In a written response to questions, the spokesperson said: “The choice of weapon used would be subject to the tactical and threat scenario,” adding that the two weapons “have different navigation and target sensors and different launch envelopes making them complementary weapons for maritime strike.”
The Harpoon missile has a range of more than 100km and can attack ships or fixed land targets. The JSOW is a low observable glide weapon with GPS guidance with a mid-course update capability via datalink and, when launched from altitude, can fly more than 50km to hit moving surface vessels or land targets.
The ADF’s entire inventory of Block 1 Harpoons is able to be configured for air launch, or for rail or canister surface, or for submarine launch systems.